QUICK REVIEW – Ahriman : Hounds of Wrath – John French

Part three of John French’s The Tale of Ctesias from Ahriman: Exodus, and set between Exile and Sorcerer, the short story Hounds of Wrath sees the uneasy pairing of Ctesias and Sanakht tasked with discovering what caused the destruction of one of their ships. As they go looking for answers in the bones and echoes of the ship they instead find daemons on the hunt for Ahriman. Fleeing from this newfound peril they are forced to put their differences aside and work together for once.

More so than in any of the other stories there’s very little of Ahriman here; instead, it’s much more of an exploration of Ctesias’ place within the cabal. The bulk of the story focuses on Ctesias and Sanakht bickering and goading each other with predictably enjoyable results, but once the action heats up there’s a nice change away from the usual psychic abstracts and back into the dirty brutality of up close combat, and the ensuing events lead quite closely into the next step in the arc. Of the Ahriman short stories, it’s perhaps the most straightforward (at least taken on its own), but it’s no less entertaining for that, and once again shows how much thought has gone into these stories both in terms of plotting and characterisation.

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